DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

DAREarts in Webequie, Part Two

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Photo courtesy Geneviève Anthony

“Long shadows wrapped up a day that began with snow and ended with the sun cutting through crisp air,” writes darearts teacher Geneviève Anthony upon her return to Webequie for week three of darearts’ 2011 First Roots program. Our teachers have been reporting in, and it seems that despite the snow(!), the youth of Webequie are starting to come out of their shells to embrace the creative projects that began just two weeks ago.

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Photo courtesy Lorraine Montreuil

While students have eagerly worked into the evening hours to complete their vests, they have also been working on producing their own songs and paintings. With very full schedules, the youth are certainly keeping warm with their energy and enthusiasm, traits that are welcomed in the isolated community. They have taken on challenges as they come, and their efforts are paying off more and more each day. The youth have prospered in realizing that they are capable of so much.

Lorraine Montreuil, an artist from Northern Ontario, enthusiastically joined the team to help inspire, encourage, and motivate the youth. While helping the youth with the sewing of their vests, she reported that the kids and teens themselves were in turn inspiring her. As they opened up to her, she began to see the complexities that they deal with every day.

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Photo courtesy Geneviève Anthony

About halfway through Week 3, the youth openly welcomed aboriginal fashion designer D’Arcy Moses, who promptly joined the darearts team upon hearing about the project. D’Arcy hoped to inspire the youth with his ability to integrate cultural heritage with market direction. His presence proved to be motivational, and with his help the kids moved faster than ever on the tedious sewing of their vest. The results are astounding, and the youth are deservedly proud of themselves.

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Photo courtesy Geneviève Anthony

By working with Glenn Marais last week, the youth were able to finish writing the lyrics to their song as well as put down some riffs to sing it along to. The finished lyrics are a huge collaborative accomplishment:

Spirit of the North

Heavy hearts, silent words
Unspoken, forgotten, no direction
Showing up is half the battle
Losing loved ones, family and friends

Feeling alone, I can’t see
Letting go of the anger in me
Help me now, help me get back
Because love can make you feel anything

Love is pride, love is strength
Love is warm
Love can make you feel anything

I want to see myself proud
I want to see myself strong
I want to be who I am
I’ve had enough of being wrong
But love can make you feel anything

Moving forward, living life
Not looking back, facing my fears
Standing up, even if I’m standing alone
Trying to find my way, my heart is my home

There is no place like home
You have it in your heart
Since the day you were born
You got to hold on
It’s the Spirit of the North
My heart is my compass
One step at a time, one step at a time

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Photo courtesy Lorraine Montreuil

After finishing their song, the youth are continuing their work on their vests in preparation for their upcoming fashion show. For the show, the students will demonstrate all of their hard work to their community. The excitement is unmistakable as the students pour the majority of their time into creating posters, practicing their song, and eagerly awaiting further activities from artist Cathy Elliott and Jeremy Proulx, whom most of the youth know from previous visits.

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Photo courtesy Geneviève Anthony

Artist-Teacher Geneviève has also noted that the darearts crew is undergoing an incredible learning opportunity from the community. She has shared two Oji-Cree phrases taught to her by the youth:

“A-neh-she-ya-ian?” (How are you?)

“Nim min no ya.” (I am good.)

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Photo courtesy Lorraine Montreuil

The youth’s fashion show will be this upcoming Saturday, November 5th, at Simon Jacob Memorial School. All are welcome.

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